Daily News, ESPN: Yankees to Deal Melky for Cameron

In the immortal words of that great 20th-century thinker Charlie Brown, good grief.  According to Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News, the Yankees will reportedly deal Melky to the Brewers for Mike Cameron.  While the Yankees will have found their center fielder for now, why is it that a good deal of me feels that the Yanks will have re-acquired Tony Womack but with power?

While I was sour on Melky, I don’t like this trade for various reasons.  Yes, Cameron steadily hits for power, averaging 20 homers a year over his 12 full-time seasons from 1997 to 2008.  He’s also good for 25-30 doubles, while stealing a high percentages (78.5%) of bases in those 12 years (289 out of 368, about 24 a year).  Not bad, especially for a guy who will turn 36 in a month.  Of course, there’s the likelihood that his productivity stayed high through his use of banned substances, for which he was suspended the first 25 games last season.  He’s also a good center fielder who can play a big center-left center in Yankee Stadium, and his right-handed bat (career .266 against lefties) should help to even out what has been a lefty-heavy lineup in recent years.  Some positives, yes.

However, his average has steadily declined from mediocre (high .260s to a career high of .273 in 2005, and that is not a typo), with him hitting all of .242 and .243 the last two seasons.  Worse, he had only one season with fewer than 100 strikeouts, and that was in 2005 when he only played 76 games, fanning 85 times.  In his 12 full-time years, he’s averaged 135 strikeouts a season.  Again, it’s not as though he hits 40 homers a year.  Last season, he hit 25 in 120 games, not bad, but he fanned 142 times.  He draws a decent amount of walks, enough to keep his OBP in the low-to-mid .300 range (.340 OBP career), but that’s not exactly setting it afire, either.  Thus, how exactly does Cameron’s fairly undisciplined style fit into the Yankees’ normally patient approach?

They must have figured that Melky’s poor habits and on-field regression were either irreversible or not worth the effort, for they traded a younger player, also good in the field, whose productivity was surely lower but whose average was slightly higher than Cameron’s.  I’m not implying that Melky would have either had a bounce-back year, or would have matured into a Cameron-type player less prone to fanning.  Melky might become good and mature, or not.  My point is just that the Yanks just acquired a player who will do some things well for them, but who brings significant limitations that, as of now, will only exacerbate trends we saw–particularly last year–that need strong remedy.

I’m trying to stay positive after the pending CC deal.  Though this doesn’t ruin it, it’s testing my patience too soon after that good news yesterday.  Trading for Cameron will have me shaking my head periodically all day, in no small part because I still want Gardner to have the chance to play and mature, and not into a faster Bubba Crosby.

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 8:34 am  Comments (15)  

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I said I can’t really complain but I really want Garnder to get his chance I think he deserves it after his great performances in September.

    abit more from MLBtrades – 8:41am: Tom Haudricourt is not sure this is done. He says the Yankees like Bill Hall as well. The Brewers could gain quite a bit of payroll flexibility here. It’d be interesting to see all three Brewers friends (including Sabathia) move to the Yanks. Too bad CC didn’t strike up a friendship with Braun.

    A few more romours here – 8:51am: Jon Heyman says the Yankees have re-entered the Teixeira sweepstakes.

    – 8:53am: Ken Davidoff and Kat O’Brien wrote that the Yankees “appeared to be closing in on a deal” for Burnett late last night. They put the offer at about $80MM. On the sire it says the Braves have not offered 5 years if so why did we do that.

  2. anything is an upgrade over melky but mike cameron is the epitome of mediocrity. lets just hope it doesn’t happen. i just woke up so i’m going to look around and get my bearings ( and my coffee)

  3. speaking of the Big G and Bobby–it’s going to be strange seeing them in another uniform–especially Big G.

  4. Just read a few reports on Fox and NY Post that the deal is now unlikely. Hope its true

  5. Yeah, the Brewers want us to pay part of Cameron’s tab. What I don’t understand is….weren’t the Yankees supposed to get younger and more athletic to compete with teams like the Rays?

  6. That’s my understanding from Ken Rosenthal too, Nick and Jane. He also adds that the Brewers reportedly want another player. I’d say no way. Exactly, Jane. Cameron will be 36 next season, never swung for a good average and, while still athletic, is both old and expensive (~$10 million next year). That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, some upside he might have notwithstanding.

  7. According to Dan Graziano at The Star-Ledger, the Yankees’ effrontery to ask the Brewers to defray part of Cameron’s 2009 salary made the Brewers “incensed,” clipping off trade talks for now. Good. Cameron’s not worth it, honestly.

  8. I feel that Melky is a 4th OF, so one year of Cameron should be better than that. He is most likely a greater option than Melky or Gardner.


  9. agreed jason – soory your owner is too cheap to pony up the cash to keep your best players, but since the brewers ( and all you other teams out there ) take a ton of yankee cash every year from “revenue sharing” they should keep their mouth shut. it’s their own stupidity to pick up his 10 million buck option so to hell with them. i hope they have to pimp out ryan braun to pay for costs next yea.

  10. and sorry for the miss-spellings – but i’m angry

  11. Wow, Mike. I haven’t seen you this angry since some of the testier HDLR games. Your point, with which i largely agree, is in part why I can’t suffer much of the small-market sniveling. Teams such as KC, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota gets gobs of revenue sharing, get their ball park filled when plum guests come to town, actually profit from stadium revenue unlike the Yankees, and sign players to contracts that they often don’t pay to the end year, for example A-Rod, with the Yankees sparing the Rangers of an over-priced contract they foolishly made $252 million when they overbid everyone by a good $70 million. I wonder if there will be a quid-pro-quo–a player (pitcher?) with Melky for the Brewers’ taking part of payment for Cameron’s 2009. Regardless, I think the Yanks should pass entirely on Cameron but, if we’re forced to live with such a trade, let the Brewers pony up a few million for the Yanks to take him off their hands. How much in beer revenue do the Brewers take in, anyway?

  12. What I read into it is this. Apparently the Yanks are very high on Austin Jackson, and feel he’d be ready in a year or two. Hence the bridge in Cameron. I would hope Gardner is then a backup OF, def. replacement, pinch-runner. I don’t like the age of Cameron or the low BA/K’s, but would bat him 9th. I’d like the 9-1-2 speed of Cameron, Damon, Jeter in front of the big bats. Cameron’s D is still good, but… Even with the low BA and the K’s, Cameron’s OPS+ is 20 points higher than Melky.

    But at 36…a stopgap. A-Jax then, couldn’t arrive fast enough. Hopefully he’s ready to take the next step.

  13. I think you may be right about the short term of any potential deal for Cameron, Mike. Jackson looks very impressive and, with his more well-rounded offensive game thus far than Gardner, the Yanks clearly have their eyes set on him. I know also they’re probably going for offensive upgrades based on shorter term, less expensive players to spend it long term on pitching. But I’ve been of the opinion that the offense needs real attention. I don’t think last year’s woes with runners on and in scoring position were anomalous. They indicate an impatient, erratic approach that Cameron only exacerbates. I’m not disagreeing, since I think we’re on the same page about the Yanks and Cameron. If only the short term, I can do nothing but accept it. I just can’t help but think the $10 million would be much better spent elsewhere.

    Yeah, they definitely need Jackson to step up and play, to be 2006 Melky starting in 2010 and steadily improve. They need some of what few in-house position prospects to eventually deliver.

  14. Even though Cameron really blows, he’s still an upgrade to the Melky/Gardner tandem. From the way it sounded on the Yankee Hot Stove show, Cashman has been trying to find a CF all offseason. Cameron has to be the best he could find. It’s sad, but it still makes the team better in 2009. What has already been mentioned is that it’s only a 1 year deal and then next year it’s A-Jax time.

    The deal becomes much better if the $$ stays the same. If the Brew Crew eats some of the salary then there’s really no difference between having Cam or Melk. Melk’s days in NYC were done when he got demoted last year. It was a matter of time before he ended up somewhere else.

    And who knows? Maybe this will kick Cano in the pants. Assuming of course the deal goes through.

  15. hey – j-boogie good points all around. i like the idea of him kicking cano in the backside. somebody’s got to

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